Long Ridge OSP and Evening Explorer Hike

On a warm Wednesday night, 9/29/11, KG, CB and I scouted Long Ridge. On the way up Page Mill, a young coyote crossed the road. We started off from the trailhead around 5:30.

I’ve been looking for a certain something for a couple of years. The search intensified after KG joined me on a MCOSD naturalist spider hike, of which I’ve been on several. We’re addicted to looking in trailbank holes, and with trapdoor search image in head (thanks to DH and SB from Marin) and time to look, somehow we managed to find not one, but more than one! The first one was on a small diagonal slope on a mossy bank. KG spotted another nearby, which was vertical on a dirt face. When she carefully opened the door with a piece of grass, the spider popped out! The door stuck open, and the spider stayed there for a while, long enough to take photos. When it decided to back up, we closed the door. The burrows were in the same area as Antrodiaetus riversi, the turret spider. We found many, many of those, in other places besides our usual after-dinner haunt.

We got to the bench at 7:12. Some trees near the intersection had been cut; the area seemed more open. After dinner, we left around 8:00. Along the ridge, we found the usual California Common Scorpion, and back in the woods around 8:30, also found California Forest Scorpion, by red flashlight and not UV, since the hands were darker than the dirt. We passed a Jerusalem Cricket, not a true cricket but in their own family, Stenopelmatidae.

At one point, we flushed some birds from the trees. CB got only a glimpse of size, and thought they were more pigeon-size. Usually what we flush is Band-tailed Pigeon, which make a big commotion startling the heck out of us, or California Quail, which may cluck. The calls these birds made were almost turkey-like, something like what these hens were doing.

In a grassy area, KG spotted a Western Black Widow. We’ve seen one or two here before.

Another curiosity that I’ve been trying to figure out for a number of years is those perfectly round holes in trailbanks. One time at Monte Bello, PB, KG and I saw something in a perfectly round hole, but we couldn’t tell what it was. It backed in before we got a good look, and we got no photos. I had another exciting moment  when I found an occupied hole. The holes I’m talking about have a beveled edge. This one was filled by a tiger beetle larva head! Once we saw that one, we started to see more, and also found them at Monte Bello. Our Marin naturalists tell us these are in the genus Omus, and the adults can be mistaken for darkling beetles if one does not look carefully.

On the public hike, the fog came and went in waves during dinner.We saw many Scaphinotus (snail eaters) beetles. Two were carrying what looked like yellowjackets. One was on top of another, mating-style, and the bottom one had a yellowjacket in its mandibles. We weren’t sure if that was a nuptial gift, stealing, or just taking advantage of a busy beetle.

Here are photos from this hike and the Evening Explorer Hike on 10/7.


One Response to “Long Ridge OSP and Evening Explorer Hike”

  1. Cindy Says:

    Midpen staff and the California Conservation Corps cleared bays from around 50 specimen oak trees in the Skyline area this summer to protect the big oaks from Sudden Oak Death. A group of those large oaks are behind the Stegner bench. Those tiger beetle larvae sound interesting.

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